Secretary of State Ruth Johnson honors Sen. John Proos with the Shining Star Award

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos recently received the Shining Star Award from the Michigan secretary of state’s office for his work supporting organ donation.

“Sen. Proos understands the importance of making sure Michigan residents in need of a lifesaving transplant have an opportunity for that moment to occur,” said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. “Together we are committed to saving and improving lives through organ, tissue and eye donation.”

Proos was nominated by Gift of Life Michigan for the Shining Star Award, which honors exceptional dedication, outstanding support, novel partnerships or extraordinary efforts in the area of organ, tissue and eye donor awareness.

In January 2017, the governor signed Proos’ measure, “Lauren’s Law,” to require the secretary of state’s office to ask customers if they would like to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry when they apply for a driver’s license.

The law was named after a 9-year-old New York resident who received a heart transplant and became the public face of organ donation in her state. Proos became involved in the issue at the initiative of John Grinnell, a Southwest Michigan resident and kidney transplant recipient.

“It is a honor to be recognized by the secretary of state’s office and Gift of Life Michigan, who are doing incredible work to save lives by helping increase the number of registered organ donors,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Lauren’s Law is about doing all we can to give the gift of life to those in need of an organ transplant. There are nearly enough people nationwide currently in need of a lifesaving transplant to fill Ford Field in Detroit — twice.

“Lauren’s Law is proof that great things can come from listening to our residents. I want to thank John Grinnell for coming to me with this idea, and I also want to thank Secretary of State Johnson for her dedication to making sure that the benefits of Lauren’s Law are fully realized. Already, the percentage of Michigan residents signed up has more than doubled from 27 percent in 2011 to 63 percent now.”

Johnson’s West Michigan liaison Barb VanderVeen presented Proos with the award at the Niles City Council Chambers.

Proos continues to be active in raising awareness about Michigan’s organ donor registry and encouraging residents to consider registering to become an organ donor.

“Thousands of Americans are currently in need of a lifesaving organ transplant, including more than 3,200 people here in Michigan,” Proos said. “Becoming an organ donor is easy to do, and donors could save or enhance the lives of up to 75 people.”

Residents can sign up to become a donor by visiting any Michigan secretary of state branch office or by visiting www.Michigan.gov/organdonation.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Photowire.

Proos wants to ensure health inspections are occurring in prison kitchens

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos plans to include boilerplate language in the Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC) budget that would subject all department-operated kitchens to the public safety requirements of the state’s food law and food code.

“As we looked closely at our prison food service operations, one of the items we discovered is that our prison kitchens are not inspected for food safety like other food establishments,” said Proos, chairman of the Senate DOC budget subcommittee. “Because prison kitchens are not licensed, they are not subject to safety inspections. To ensure that all prison food operations are safe, the Senate subcommittee’s budget plan will change that.”

In addition to including the boilerplate language — which directs the department on how to use the funding — Proos, R-St. Joseph, plans to include $50,000 in the budget plan for the inspections.

The Senate DOC budget bill for fiscal year 2019 is Senate Bill 852. The subcommittee plans to meet to discuss the budget outline on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. in committee hearing room 1100 of the Binsfeld Office Building.

The governor has proposed switching from privately contracted food services back to food service provided by state workers. Proos previously formed a Senate workgroup to explore training nonviolent prisoners to prepare and serve meals at DOC facilities.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

Sen. Proos honors WWII, Korea and Vietnam veteran

LANSING, Mich. Sen. John Proos on Thursday paid tribute to U.S. veteran Juanito Dela Cruz of Riverside for his service in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

“It is with great pride that we honor Juanito Dela Cruz for his years of service in the United States armed forces,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Mr. Dela Cruz is a veteran of three wars, having served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He also served at Pearl Harbor. Certainly, his selfless devotion to his duty as well as his many sacrifices are deserving of our highest praise and recognition.

“We are truly grateful for his bravery, courage and willingness to risk his own life to protect the liberty and freedom of so many others. His noble actions serve as an incredible example that we can all take great pride in.”

Dela Cruz served in the U.S. Navy for 19 years. Through his bravery and valor, he was awarded the Good Conduct Medal.

“Mr. Dela Cruz has not only demonstrated his devotion and compassion to our country, but has truly enjoyed taking part in statewide activities,” Proos said. “He is active in his community as a dedicated member of the Riverside United Methodist Church, and one of his favorite activities was participating in the annual Mackinac Bridge walk with his late wife Millie.

“By his true devotion and passion for his state and country, Juanito Dela Cruz has set an example for others to follow and is deserving of our highest praise and recognition. It is an honor to welcome him and his family to the Michigan Capitol.”

Proos recognized Dela Cruz and his family during Senate session and later presented him with a special tribute signed by Proos; Rep. Kim LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township; Congressman Fred Upton; and Gov. Rick Snyder.

 

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Editor’s note: The above photo of Proos is available by clicking on the left image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorJohnProos.com/photowire.

Coloma wins Proos’ 2018 #SWMISpirit tournament

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos announced on Tuesday that the champions of the 2018 Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament are the Coloma Comets.

“I want to extend my congratulations to the Comets for winning this year’s school spirit championship,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Coming off impressive Final Four victories, the final round matchup between the River Valley Mustangs and Coloma had the anticipation of an exciting championship match — and it lived up to that expectation.

“In the end, the Comets emerged as champions, earning nearly 10,000 points on Facebook alone.”

The social networking contest spanned five weeks and featured 31 area high schools, which were divided into four brackets named for features that characterize Southwest Michigan. Thousands of students participated by voting in online polls and submitted photos on Facebook and Twitter to score points for their school.

“I sponsored this spirit tournament to give Southwest Michigan students and communities an opportunity to showcase their school pride in a manner that inspired creativity,” Proos said. “It was awesome to see the tremendous participation throughout the competition. Clearly, no one has more school spirit than those of us here in Southwest Michigan.”

As the champion, Coloma High School will be presented with a traveling trophy from Proos and will also receive a special tribute commending the school for the spirit of its students and community. The tribute will be signed by Proos; Rep. Kim LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township; Congressman Fred Upton; Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Gov. Rick Snyder.

“I want to thank everyone who participated for helping make this year’s contest such a wonderful success,” Proos said. “The community of Coloma should be proud of the spirit and teamwork they displayed throughout the competition.”

Residents may see all the submitted photos for the championship round by visiting Proos’ Facebook fan page, John Proos Supporters Page.

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Editor’s note: Audio of Proos congratulating the Coloma Comets will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

Proos helping raise awareness of sexual assault

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos is reminding residents that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to increase understanding about the crime of sexual assault and what can be done to prevent it.

“Sexual violence affects women and men across every demographic,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “When we actively increase education, awareness and community involvement, we can help prevent sexual violence and create a safer environment for everyone. I encourage Southwest Michigan residents to help raise awareness about this heinous crime and about the role each of us can play in helping end it.

“An important step is for all of us to speak up and say something if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault.”

Proos said that it is estimated that one out of four women and one out of 10 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. In addition, about 85 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone known by the victim.

“The Legislature is working to protect college students, who are often considered one of the more vulnerable populations when it comes to sexual assaults,” Proos said. “Going to college should be an enjoyable time that helps prepare the next generation of leaders for success. Every student and athlete in our state deserves a safe place to learn and compete, and no victim of sexual abuse should ever feel threatened or ashamed about coming forward.”

Among the many reforms in Senate Bills 871-880 is making college employees and youth sports coaches, assistant coaches, athletic trainers, bus drivers and youth sports volunteers mandatory reporters of child abuse, including sexual assault.

In 2012, Proos sponsored Erin’s Law, which allows schools to implement policies addressing sexual abuse so children have age-appropriate education to recognize and talk about it.

“Sexual assault can emotionally and physically scar a victim, and the ultimate goal is to prevent all sexual assaults,” Proos said. “As we aim for that goal, we must create an environment where survivors feel free to speak up, tell their stories and start the healing process.

Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to call 911 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

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Sen. Proos encourages residents to celebrate libraries

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos is encouraging Southwest Michigan families to support local libraries and celebrate their positive impact during National Library Week, April 8-14.

“Getting a quality education is still the most important step toward a rewarding future, and local libraries provide tremendous options for students and residents to access the knowledge they need to succeed,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The 60th anniversary of National Library Week is an excellent time to recognize the contributions of our libraries and librarians and to promote the wide range of education and community resources they provide all of us.”

Michigan has more than 650 public libraries, and residents can find their local library by visiting www.ilovelibraries.org/library-card.

“Last year, the governor signed my legislation to open up library services to thousands of families on both sides of the state border,” Proos said. “By joining the compact, Michigan residents now have more access to a world of information and literary materials and Michigan libraries can share the cost of providing these important services.”

With Public Act 173 of 2017, Michigan entered into the Interstate Library Compact, which now allows Michigan residents to utilize services offered by libraries of other states that have also entered into the compact, including Indiana and Ohio. The services include the use of facilities, personnel, equipment and other materials.

“Today’s libraries are much more than just places to check out books,” Proos said. “Modern libraries help engage our communities, provide access to the internet and digital information, offer safe havens and activities for kids, and promote reading and creativity. In this effort, they help improve our state and prepare both current and future generations for success.”

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2018 #SWMISpirit championship round

LANSING, Mich. — The 2018 Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament hosted by Sen. John Proos is now down to the championship matchup.

“Congratulations to the River Valley Mustangs and the Coloma Comets on earning spots in the championship round of this year’s school spirit tournament,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This school spirit tournament is designed to give our community a chance to show their school pride in a manner that inspires creativity and community. Both of these schools have consistently been among the highest scoring schools each week, so this final round should be exciting.”

The tournament began with 31 area high schools competing in four brackets named for features that characterize Southwest Michigan. Each week, the schools with the most points move on.

“Every week, we have seen tremendous participation from people throughout the region,” Proos said. “The Final Four battles were awesome displays of school spirit. River Valley fans pulled off an impressive victory over Michigan Lutheran, and fans of Coloma submitted 1,253 photos and totaled more than 7,300 points to beat Edwardsburg.”

Residents are reminded that there are several ways to earn points for their favorite school, including voting in online polls or submitting unique photos about their school.

Visitors to the John Proos Supporters Page on Facebook can also upload photos and earn bonus points when others “like” their school’s photo album. Another way to earn points is to follow Proos on Twitter and send a tweet to @JohnMProos that includes the school name and the hashtag #SWMISpirit.

For complete rules and information, visit www.SenatorJohnProos.com/southwest-michigan-spirit.

The championship round will go through noon on Friday, April 6. The champion will receive a special tribute from the governor and area legislators commending their school and will house an engraved trophy until the following year.

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Editor’s note: Pictures submitted by fans of River Valley and Coloma are available in the photos section of the John Proos Supporters Page on Facebook.

The championship bracket is available by visiting www.SenatorJohnProos.com/bracket.

Michigan fishing license season starts Sunday

Proos reminds residents new licenses are available online

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos is reminding Southwest Michigan anglers that anyone interested in going fishing in Michigan will need a new 2018 license starting on April 1.

“Every year, fishing on Michigan’s abundant waterways contributes billions of dollars to the state economy — money that helps support thousands of small businesses as well as local communities and schools,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I encourage Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors to get out and enjoy some of the world’s best fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters. It’s fun, relaxing and important to preserving our great outdoors.

“With spring here, now is the time to get a 2018 Michigan Fishing License. Anglers with 2017 licenses can use them through Saturday, but the new fishing license season begins on Sunday.”

Fishing licenses can be purchased online 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.mdnr-elicense.com. Anglers can also visit a local license retailer or DNR Customer Service Center to purchase a fishing license in person.

All 2018 fishing licenses are valid through March 31, 2019 and are good for all species. As of March 1, the DNR has developed an electronic license that allows individuals to display electronic copies of their fishing licenses on their smartphone.

“There are several fishing regulation changes this year, and the new regulations also start on Sunday,” Proos said. “I encourage everyone to get to know all fishing rules before heading out. Residents can use a helpful fishing guide full of great information on the 2018 fishing season, including details on the different license options, images of popular fish and materials on managed lakes and rivers in each county.”

The 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide also goes into effect on April 1 and is available where fishing licenses are sold or online at www.michigan.gov/fishing. The online version is kept up to date and is always available for download.

“I hope everyone gets a chance to experience the joy of fishing,” Proos said. “It is truly one of the things that makes Michigan such a great place to live.”

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available later at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

Proos celebrates reading with students in Three Rivers

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos celebrated National Reading Month by reading to students at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Three Rivers on Monday. Proos read the award-winning children’s book The Twelve Months of Michigan to the students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Reading to children at a young age has been shown to generate an interest in learning, a creative spirit and a confidence in academic ability later in life,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “It is always a great time sharing a love of reading to young people throughout Southwest Michigan.”

In an effort to promote the importance of reading, Proos will continue reading to students at local elementary schools in Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. Teachers who would like Proos to stop by their classrooms can contact Proos’ office at 517-373-6960 to schedule a visit.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Photowire.

Proos celebrates reading month with Niles first-grade students

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos celebrated National Reading Month by visiting Ms. Coleman’s first-grade class at Merritt Elementary School in Niles on March 12. Proos read the award-winning children’s book Duck for President to the students.

“Reading to children at a young age has been shown to generate an interest in learning, a creative spirit and a confidence in academic ability later in life,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “It is always a great time sharing a love of reading to young people throughout Southwest Michigan.”

In an effort to promote the importance of reading, Proos will continue reading to students at local elementary schools in Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. Teachers who would like Proos to stop by their classrooms can contact Proos’ office at 517-373-6960 to schedule a visit.

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